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  1. #1
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Time to think about power conditiioning.

    Like most of us here, I am very sensitive to any change in the sound. For the last few days I've perceived what I thought was an improvement in overall SQ in my rig. Nothing had changed lately except an op amp upgrade but that was a month ago so any burn in should have already taken place.

    Then it dawns on me. The weather had cooled down the same time as the improvement happened. Must be all the air conditioners in the neighborhood have been turned off. Maybe the op amp just revealed what was hidden till now, who knows.

    Anyway, I have always believed that power conditioners did the job that they were designed to do. I thought that, except under extreme conditions, power conditioning wasn't necessary or audible. Maybe the old stereo in getting to to level where these things become more important.

    First thing I'm going to do is install a couple of dedicated receptacles with a dedicated ground path and possibly an isolation transformer.

    Time to research and learn more. I'm all ears guys. Suggestions, insights or just a good ol' bashing anyone?

    Cheers
    LDB
    Last edited by Luvin Da Blues; 10-02-2009 at 06:18 PM.
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  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    Like most of us here, I am very sensitive to any change in the sound. For the last few days I've perceived what I thought was an improvement in overall SQ in my rig. Nothing had changed lately except an op amp upgrade but that was a month ago so any burn in should have already taken place.

    Then it dawns on me. The weather had cooled down the same time as the improvement happened. Must be all the air conditioners in the neighborhood have been turned off. Maybe the op amp just revealed what was hidden till now, who knows.

    Anyway, I have always believed that power conditioners did the job that they were designed to do. I thought that, except under extreme conditions, power conditioning wasn't necessary or audible. Maybe the old stereo in getting to to level where these things become more important.

    First thing I'm going to do is install a couple of dedicated receptacles with a dedicated ground path and possibly an isolation transformer.

    Time to research and learn more. I'm all ears guys. Suggestions, insights or just a good ol' bashing anyone?

    Cheers
    LDB
    LDB, a friend of mine is an electrician. I have 2 more slots in my fuse box left. I am thinking of having him come in and rig up something dedicated to my audio/bass gear and my comp. I'll try and chat him up and share on your thread. I really don't know much either about this. I think E-Stat will be the man for this.

  3. #3
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    LDB, a friend of mine is an electrician. I have 2 more slots in my fuse box left. I am thinking of having him come in and rig up something dedicated to my audio/bass gear and my comp. I'll try and chat him up and share on your thread. I really don't know much either about this. I think E-Stat will be the man for this.
    Pops. thanks for the offer. Although,I think this one area where my many years an electrician will come in handy.
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  4. #4
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvin Da Blues
    I thought that, except under extreme conditions, power conditioning wasn't necessary or audible. Maybe the old stereo in getting to to level where these things become more important.
    Who's to say exactly what factor(s) are responsible. I notice that the voltage droops about four or five volts at peak AC time where I live which could affect the ability of some components to run at spec. I think the issue, however, is related more to the increasing number of noisy devices (in terms of AC pollution) that share the power with our audio systems. The villains live in our own homes - not miles away at the sub station.

    The improvements I've found by using aftermarket power cords and conditioners is admittedly subtle and many folks would never know the difference. It is a lowering of the noise floor which is only really evident when either you listen at modest levels or enjoy music with some dynamic range (read: there are quiet passages).

    I would certainly recommend using dedicated line(s) as a starter. I have resisted using a server based digital source in the main system because most desktop computers are notorious for generating copious amounts of RFI with their switching power supplies. It is the other components that tend to amplify the grunge these noisy neighbors generate.

    rw

  5. #5
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments E-Stat

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I think the issue, however, is related more to the increasing number of noisy devices (in terms of AC pollution) that share the power with our audio systems. The villains live in our own homes - not miles away at the sub station.
    I have actually done listening test with the A/C and other appliances in my home to see if there is an audible difference. I didn't really hear any then. Could be that one A/C unit doesn't generate enough garbage but collectively with the others in the neighborhood.........

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    The improvements I've found by using aftermarket power cords and conditioners is admittedly subtle and many folks would never know the difference. It is a lowering of the noise floor which is only really evident when either you listen at modest levels or enjoy music with some dynamic range (read: there are quiet passages).
    Ya, that's what I'm hearing a "blacker" background now and a slight improvement in detail and separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I would certainly recommend using dedicated line(s) as a starter. I have resisted using a server based digital source in the main system because most desktop computers are notorious for generating copious amounts of RFI with their switching power supplies. It is the other components that tend to amplify the grunge these noisy neighbors generate.rw
    The dedicated circuits is a breeze for me to install, not sure why I haven't done this before now. Just lazy or no motivation to do it before now, I guess.

    ldb
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  6. #6
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Sorry LDB, didn't know you were an electrician yourself. Learn something everyday. Gonna jack your thread for a sec. Came to a standstill with my racking. Might be a few more days but I had the urge to re-arrange, since I would have to make room anyhow. Here's the result...thanks for the inspiration...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Time to think about power conditiioning.-dsc02424.jpg  

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    .......
    I would certainly recommend using dedicated line(s) as a starter. I have resisted using a server based digital source in the main system because most desktop computers are notorious for generating copious amounts of RFI with their switching power supplies. It is the other components that tend to amplify the grunge these noisy neighbors generate.

    rw
    What if you were to plug the computer into a separate circuit and place it about 6 feet away from your other components, as that is the length of most standard USB cables?
    Do you feel RFI would still be an issue?

    Rudy

  8. #8
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Sorry LDB, didn't know you were an electrician yourself. Learn something everyday. Gonna jack your thread for a sec. Came to a standstill with my racking. Might be a few more days but I had the urge to re-arrange, since I would have to make room anyhow. Here's the result...thanks for the inspiration...
    That looks better. That's the way I have my components laid put, side by side. I never stack my gear. If I had them in a rack I would have a shelf with proper separation for each piece.

    Cheers
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  9. #9
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    LDB -

    I know about as much about power conditioning as I know about the reproductive cycle of seahorses. But at the PS Audio event last week Paul's explanation of their Power Plant really peaked my interest.

    From what I understand, unlike a conditioner that tried to filter out noise, this creates a whole new electric wave, in sine wave form. It seemed like the smartest power conditioning unit I've ever heard of.

  10. #10
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    LDB -

    I know about as much about power conditioning as I know about the reproductive cycle of seahorses. But at the PS Audio event last week Paul's explanation of their Power Plant really peaked my interest.

    From what I understand, unlike a conditioner that tried to filter out noise, this creates a whole new electric wave, in sine wave form. It seemed like the smartest power conditioning unit I've ever heard of.
    That looks like an interesting product Adam. I see it outputs a full 12 amps which is the most your allowed to load up a 15 amp circuit anyway. Don't know if I can spend that large on this problem right now tho.

    Ciao,

    LDB
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    LDB -

    I know about as much about power conditioning as I know about the reproductive cycle of seahorses. But at the PS Audio event last week Paul's explanation of their Power Plant really peaked my interest.

    From what I understand, unlike a conditioner that tried to filter out noise, this creates a whole new electric wave, in sine wave form. It seemed like the smartest power conditioning unit I've ever heard of.
    Now I'm posting this hoping that an electrician will step in and correct me if I'm wrong. But I believe a Transformer will do an identical job. I believe they come with different noise thresholds. And of course the quieter the more expensive.

    Here's a link, with some examples, that I got from someone who turned me onto that idea:
    Transformers

    I believe the lower the pF value the quieter the unit, and the higher the kva the more powerful it is. This is, of course, very oversimplified.

    Rudy

  12. #12
    music whore Happy Camper's Avatar
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    I use an isolation transformer (4 separate circuits) on my digital gear and use a power cord for my amps directly to the wall outlets. Isolation trannys will filter out a lot of high frequency noise before it hits your devices. Trannys and similar are active filtering devices which will impact current response. The power cord acts as a passive filter for the amps.

    Instruments appear out of silence with eyeblinking front edge sharpness and the decay has wonderful weight throughout. The dynamics are much more enjoyable because you don't have to use as much db to hear the quieter details.
    d HC b

  13. #13
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudy Gireyev
    Now I'm posting this hoping that an electrician will step in and correct me if I'm wrong. But I believe a Transformer will do an identical job. I believe they come with different noise thresholds. And of course the quieter the more expensive.

    Here's a link, with some examples, that I got from someone who turned me onto that idea:
    Transformers

    I believe the lower the pF value the quieter the unit, and the higher the kva the more powerful it is. This is, of course, very oversimplified.

    Rudy
    A transformer can't do the same thing the PS Audio devices do. A transformer isolates whatever is on the secondary. The Power Plant's are amplifiers that output 120VAC at 60Hz. They are purpose built amplifiers that have their own oscillator that produces a clean 60Hz sine wave. The amplifier section then amplifies that sine wave to 120VAC. The 120VAC is used to power whatever device is plugged into the Power Plant.
    The output from the power plant is dependent on the oscillator circuit and the internal amplifier. Its output is not affected by any noise, hash, distortion, glitches etc that may be on the AC coming into your house. Any device plugged into it is fed a clean, glitch and noise free, absolutely symmetrical 120VAC sine wave.
    They are usually not practical for power amps or any device that needs lots of current. It would have to produce a constant 15Amp or more output to be of use with a power amp. It would also have to be able to respond to even higher current demands unless you want a power amp to be output limited by its input current.
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    Thank you Joe. A lot in your description of PS Audio devices sounds similar to the way I thought the Isolation Transformers work. Of course, I'm no electrician and may have no idea of what I'm talking about. (Very likely actually)
    In any event as I understood it, the Isolation Transformers also build their current from scratch, which I thought was the whole reason behind those massive and heavy copper wire coils that they come with. Unfortunately I don't know enough about their innards to know if they have internal clocks and other PS Audio components.
    So I thought perhaps you, along with other people in the know, can point out the specific differences between the two.
    It would also be fantastic to hear how their differences, and similarities, affect our Audiophile world.

    Thanks.
    Rudy

  15. #15
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    An isolation transformer is a transformer with a 1:1 turns ratio. It can't correct for over or under voltage. It does nothing other than isolate the device connected to the secondaries from direct AC. They are large and heavy because they need to carry all the current/voltage coming in on the AC line to the primary coils.
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  16. #16
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    A transformer can't do the same thing the PS Audio devices do. A transformer isolates whatever is on the secondary. The Power Plant's are amplifiers that output 120VAC at 60Hz. They are purpose built amplifiers that have their own oscillator that produces a clean 60Hz sine wave. The amplifier section then amplifies that sine wave to 120VAC. The 120VAC is used to power whatever device is plugged into the Power Plant.
    The output from the power plant is dependent on the oscillator circuit and the internal amplifier. Its output is not affected by any noise, hash, distortion, glitches etc that may be on the AC coming into your house. Any device plugged into it is fed a clean, glitch and noise free, absolutely symmetrical 120VAC sine wave.
    They are usually not practical for power amps or any device that needs lots of current. It would have to produce a constant 15Amp or more output to be of use with a power amp. It would also have to be able to respond to even higher current demands unless you want a power amp to be output limited by its input current.
    So you are saying the PS Audio Power Plant would be good for a source and pre-amp but could hold back a standard amp. Would that be a correct assumption. What 8-10Watt SET amps?

    Thanks for the info btw.

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    I ran a dedicated line and outlet box several years ago. The florescent lighing in the kitchen would cause a drop in sound when turned on and a pop, along with the return of loss when turned off. I still hear the small pop, but sound level does not change in a noticeable way.

    I also have a SOLA Constant Voltage power supply leftover from some machines I built that utilized a Compaq PC running C+ as the main controller for the machine. I have not had it in the system for some time now but maybe should give it another try now that I have better gear.

    My Panamax 1000, has LEDs that let you know where the voltage is. My normal incoming voltage is closer to 116-118 which is the main reason I have light bulbs that are 15 years old. Once your incoming voltage passes the 120 mark, you will replace bulbs frequently.

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    Hmmm. As an audio enthousiast who is also an electrical engineer, I would like to give my take on this:

    It is a fact that there's a lot of noise on the AC power lines. And therefore, any circuit designer worth his salt takes care of this designing the power supply unit of any device that may be sensitive to this. This includes audio equipment.

    In fact, even cheap audio equipment does a very good job rejecting any junk on the power lines. And any decent audio equipment solves the problem completely.

    The idea that power line junk would be audible once you have a very good, very accurate audio system seems outrageous to me. If you truly have an excellent system, then the circuit designer will have ensured 100 times over that this is *not* a problem you have. Anything your "PS Power Plant" can do for you will already be done by the excellent power supplies of your exquisite (or even just decent) audio components.

    If nothing else will convince you, then at least do a listening test. Have someone (not a salesperson) randomly connect or bypass the audio plant, without telling you which, and try telling them whether it's connected or not. Take your time. If you have a decent system, you will not be able to tell the difference.

    Kind regards,
    Erik

  19. #19
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik1973
    It is a fact that there's a lot of noise on the AC power lines. And therefore, any circuit designer worth his salt takes care of this designing the power supply unit of any device that may be sensitive to this. This includes audio equipment.
    The problem today isn't so much the purity of the incoming power line per se. It is all of the switching power supply grunge and digitally generated EMI that pollutes the AC from from within your house.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik1973
    If you truly have an excellent system, then the circuit designer will have ensured 100 times over that this is *not* a problem you have. Anything your "PS Power Plant" can do for you will already be done by the excellent power supplies of your exquisite (or even just decent) audio components.
    That has not been my experience. Nor that of a couple of audio reviewer friends who get some rather spectacular gear to audition.

    rw

  20. #20
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    I have an industrial rackmount UPS-Bonus it plays just fine when the power goes out.
    It also protects against power spikes and brownouts.
    Another neat thing-I have mine set up with a LAN card that I can click a shortcut in my compy and see the power draw, voltage, etc, etc. Or a graph minute by minute for a week.
    I would just have a conniption if I got all that new gear, and a power spike took out everything.
    I've seen the power go out and go back on maybe a second or 2 later, and take out a rack full of cheap gear, and 2 computers. Monitor still worked, but it was never quite the same after that.

    In the advanced settings of those UPSes, you can adjust the threshold voltages much tighter that they are at default. Also, it has really nice sine wave output in the event of a power failure. No hum at all.

  21. #21
    3db
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik1973
    Hmmm. As an audio enthousiast who is also an electrical engineer, I would like to give my take on this:

    It is a fact that there's a lot of noise on the AC power lines. And therefore, any circuit designer worth his salt takes care of this designing the power supply unit of any device that may be sensitive to this. This includes audio equipment.

    In fact, even cheap audio equipment does a very good job rejecting any junk on the power lines. And any decent audio equipment solves the problem completely.

    The idea that power line junk would be audible once you have a very good, very accurate audio system seems outrageous to me. If you truly have an excellent system, then the circuit designer will have ensured 100 times over that this is *not* a problem you have. Anything your "PS Power Plant" can do for you will already be done by the excellent power supplies of your exquisite (or even just decent) audio components.

    If nothing else will convince you, then at least do a listening test. Have someone (not a salesperson) randomly connect or bypass the audio plant, without telling you which, and try telling them whether it's connected or not. Take your time. If you have a decent system, you will not be able to tell the difference.

    Kind regards,
    Erik
    Very well said Erik. The better the equipment, the better the power supply. All that noise voltage gets filtered out at the audio equipment's power supply when its turned into DC. All amplifier circuits run off filtered DC and never directlly from the AC wall source.

    EMI won't get induced while teh audio signal is in the chassis of the component. That alumminum box is analogous to a Faraday cage where it protects the electronics from the low level EMI thats out there. EMI is usually picked up through long cables run be it interconnects or speaker wire that run parallel to power cables running through your home.

    Another far more reaching problem is ground loops. This will play havoc with any system.

    If you're in an EMI noisy environment and you are using seperates, one way to alleviate the EMI is by using balanced inputs/outputs instead of using single ended connections which is your typical connection.

    Another good practise is to avoid lumping power cords together with interconnects and speaker cables. I always isolate the two as much as possible from one another.

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